Summary: A look at the encounter Jesus had with Zachaeus and how Christ changed his life.
“True Significance is Found in Christ”
Steve Hanchett, pastor
Berry Road Baptist Church
April, 8, 2001
“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked hp and saw him and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’ Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”
You might have seen the movie “Forest Gump.” If you did you might remember one particular scene in which Lt. Dan asks forest if he had found Jesus, to which Forest responds, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him.” Not all that many years ago it was a common occurrence to see bumper stickers on vehicles that proclaimed, “Jesus is the answer.” Someone with a sarcastic spirit later printed up bumper stickers that read, “What’s the question.”
Well, even though that bumper sticker may have been a little caustic, it raises a good point. What is the question. The answer is there is not one question that people are asking. There are many. People are asking, and mankind has always asked, important questions like: Do I matter? Why am I here? Is there life after death? Can I really know God? Can my life have real purpose?
The questions people ask differ based upon their own status in life. The one whose life has been destroyed by sin is asking if there is any forgiveness. The man dying of cancer wants to know if there is life after death. The senior adult might be asking what purpose their life has. The person who has failed God is wondering if there is a second chance. The one who has lost a loved one stands beside the grave and wonders if there is any hope. The skeptic asks if one can really know God. The parent of the rebellious child asks if God can do anything to change their son or daughter. The religious man wants to know if there is any realism or is it just ritual.
People are asking a lot of very important, serious, spiritual questions. I tell you what I have come to believe and what I am firmly convinced of - Jesus is the answer. There are a lot of questions, but there is really only once answer. The answer if Jesus Christ.
One of the things about Jesus that has captured my imagination, and has birthed in me a desire to be like Jesus is the way in which Jesus Christ was able to meet people where they were, discern the real questions and desires of their heart and then show that person how He was the answer. Jesus knew when to be stern and harsh and he knew when to be soft and gentle. Jesus knew how to get to the root problem. He knew how to explain Himself to others.
The fact is in a diverse congregation like this one, we are all asking different kinds of questions. We are all facing different circumstances and difficulties. We have as many different concerns here as there are people. My conviction is that the answers you are seeking are going to be found in Jesus Christ. The next few Sunday’s I want to take us on a journey with Jesus as He encounters different individuals in the gospels. As we examine these encounters I hope to be able to look at many of the questions that we face and how Jesus Christ is the answer.
The first encounter I want us to consider is Jesus meeting Zacchaeus as recorded in Luke 19:1-10. Almost anyone who has ever been in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, or Children’s Church knows the story of Zacchaeus. We know it so well because of the song we sing about him.
Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
And a wee little man was he.